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Another Holiday Tradition IS A LIE
February 2, 2014 12:07 AM   Subscribe

Apparently the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil has been wrong more often than he has been right.
(year-old article does not include 2013 results, but does it really matter?)
posted by oneswellfoop (44 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Same as it ever was...
posted by mazola at 12:27 AM on February 2


Finally, someone willing to stand up to BigGroundhog.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:39 AM on February 2 [17 favorites]


You're not allowed to write about Phil without mentioning Gobbler's Knob at least once.

Also:
In addition to predicting the weather, Phil also has a history of making political statements. During Prohibition, Phil threatened that, if he was not allowed to drink, there would be 60 weeks of winter. In 1942, near the beginning of World War II, he said that “War clouds have blacked out parts of the shadow.” In 1958, during the Space Race, he claimed that "The United States' Chucknik" was a man-made satellite that had been launched into space before the Russians' Sputnik. He wore a yellow ribbon during the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1981. He has also met with Pennsylvania governors and Ronald Reagan.
What is Phil's stance on marijuana?
posted by pracowity at 12:39 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Gasp!
posted by figurant at 12:40 AM on February 2


It's Groundhog Day, again.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:45 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Pfft, groundhog nothing. My calendar already knows when Spring is going to end, and it was printed last year.
posted by ckape at 12:48 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Maybe we just flip the maxim?
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:55 AM on February 2 [11 favorites]


It's those damned liberal grad students making up data for their next round of taxpayer-fucked groundhog grants again, I tell you what.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:56 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


taxpayer-fucked groundhog

This is not where i want my tax dollars spent.

Perverts.
posted by MoonOrb at 1:03 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


I mean, if your AUC is under 0.5, you can just invert the classifier...
posted by en forme de poire at 1:27 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


"year-old article does not include 2013 results, but does it really matter?"

Flagged as editorialising because I hate groundhog day with a vengeance.
posted by marienbad at 2:13 AM on February 2


NED RYERSON?!?
posted by Joe Chip at 2:50 AM on February 2 [8 favorites]


I got you babe.
posted by chavenet at 2:51 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]




In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, 'Au revoir, gopher'.
posted by the painkiller at 4:24 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


I sort of think of this tradition as being a cross between the Puppy Bowl (while thinking about the game of the day!) and most astrology newspaper columns. They aren't supposed to be right or even informative in the sense of telling us a truth about the next few weeks. This is a fun event that makes us think about our current situation, here on Imbolc, Groundhog Day, the midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox, the inflection point for the 2nd derivative in this part of the Earth solar sine wave (did I get that right?)...it is intended to get you thinking about the weather you have just made it through and the weather yet to come, rather than actually tell you an answer.
posted by BearClaw6 at 4:25 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


At this moment, I am eating breakfast in the lobby of a B&B in a small town in Pennsylvania, not that far from Punxsatawney. And I can personally attest that if Phil saw his shadow this morning, he was hallucinating.

Total aside: Steven Tobolowsky's Ned Ryerson makes me laugh no matter what he does. Plus, can you believe the guy co-wrote True Stories with David Byrne? Steven, not Ned.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:37 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


it is intended to get you thinking about the weather you have just made it through and the weather yet to come

Why would I want to do that?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:37 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


It's a cheap and easy way to attract 30,000 customers to Nowhere, Pennsylvania, once a year.
posted by pracowity at 4:44 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


The fat rat throws one helluva party, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:25 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Ned? Ryerson?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:28 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


What I want to know is how many people actually believe this. And I don't mean "tongue in cheek" lets pretend to believe this because it is a fun tradition. I mean really believe this.

posted by Seymour Zamboni at 5:52 AM on February 2


Good lord, does that mean I cannot trust other rodents with long-range weather forecasting, or is it just groundhogs who are bad at it?
posted by jeather at 6:04 AM on February 2 [6 favorites]


Meanwhile, General Beauregard Lee of the Yellow River Game Ranch near Atlanta has predicted an early spring.

JUST SAYIN', Y'ALL.
posted by jquinby at 6:46 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I mean, if your AUC is under 0.5

Not much help unless your name is Romulus or Remus, then.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:53 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Best movie involving a rodent ever.
posted by arcticseal at 6:58 AM on February 2


Punxsutawney Phil has been wrong more often than he has been right.

Obviously he'll just have to keep doing it over and over until he gets better.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:59 AM on February 2


Still pretty good for a quadruped.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:00 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Malverne Mel and Holtsville Hal have both also predicted early spring.
posted by Andrhia at 7:05 AM on February 2


Couple years ago my third grader comes home from school and declares that she has a couple ways to improve Groundhog Day. First, she says, we should get our own Groundhog here in MN instead of depending on a PA Groundhog. Second, we should have the Groundhog check for their shadow for a whole week rather than for one day.

These are both great ideas I tell her; more data is better than less data and data collected locally is better. At the end of the day, though, your still getting weather predictions from a rodent.

I quite often tell this story at work to refute someone's crazy idea.
posted by TheShadowKnows at 7:06 AM on February 2 [10 favorites]


I've never understood why a sunny February day means a later spring. And apparently, I was right all along.
posted by Etrigan at 7:13 AM on February 2


Wikipedia does not say what Wiarton Willie's success rate was.
posted by jb at 7:13 AM on February 2


pracowity: "It's a cheap and easy way to attract 30,000 customers to Nowhere, Pennsylvania, once a year."

Was up there this fall and it's a pretty adorable little PA town. Not much going on but lots of cute victorian architecture and beautiful wooded hills. Also while driving there, there's going to be an Amish buggy in front of you and a line of enraged fracking industry truck drivers behind you. That happened more than once on our trip.
posted by octothorpe at 7:20 AM on February 2


My son attended tech school out in Blairsville (not recommended. Horrible little shit of a town) Early one morning, my cell phone rings. It's just breaking dawn. Of course, a call that early can't be good news. I answer. It's my son. Screaming.

"Dad! You'll never guess where I am! Punxsutawney! It's groundhog day! This place is INSANE! Everyone's drunk and it's only 6:30 in the morning!"

I had a good laugh. At least he got one fun memory from time spent in the nowhere of central Pennsylvania.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:40 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


Posts like these just make me want to punch Ned Reyerson in the nose.
posted by item at 7:50 AM on February 2


At this juncture, I'd like to float the idea of replacing Phil with a capybara.
posted by the sobsister at 8:36 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


> What I want to know is how many people actually believe this. And I don't mean "tongue in cheek" lets pretend to believe this because it is a fun tradition. I mean really believe this.

I'll tell you what you don't want to know. You don't want to know how many people don't draw a distinction between the two types of belief.

Also, with a record like that, why hasn't Phil been hired as a commentator for Fox News?
posted by benito.strauss at 9:21 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


You answered your own question. Phil's record of accuracy disqualifies him.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:05 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


we were going to try this in michigan this year but our groundhogs all froze to death
posted by pyramid termite at 10:06 AM on February 2 [4 favorites]


Just reverse the meaning of the shadow sighting. Boom, he's more often right than wrong.
posted by codswallop at 10:09 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]




Let him sleep in then.
posted by ocschwar at 4:06 PM on February 2


Not much help unless your name is Romulus or Remus, then.

Wow did I ever have to google this.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:22 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I am not sure...and I guess I should probably look this up before I post, but....what on earth do they even mean by 'wrong' vs. 'right' on forcasting the end of winter. What defines a winter end in the weather sense? Beautiful and warm February with flowers opening early means winter is over....or is it that the Earth has moved to the right place in the solar system in relation to the sun? In the latter, my guess is that winter NEVER ends early.
posted by BearClaw6 at 11:42 AM on February 4


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